LHC Group Inc. (Nasdaq: LHCG) has teamed up with South Louisiana Community College (SLCC) to form a home health education program — an extension of a previous partnership with the institution.
SLCC is a community college that serves more than 15,000 students annually and operates campuses in Abbeville, Crowley, Franklin, Houma, Lafayette, Morgan City, New Iberia, Opelousas, St. Martinville and Ville Platte in Louisiana.
Lafayette, Louisiana-based LHC Group is a home health, hospice and personal care services provider that operates in 35 states, employing 32,000 people. Along with the Myers Family Foundation, LHC Group has thrown $2.5 million into the program.
While the program was in the works before COVID-19 fully surfaced, the public health emergency reiterated the need for the program.
“This project is especially timely with the focus on health care through the existing COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Natalie J. Harder, SLCC’s chancellor, said in a press release. “Knowledgeable, well-rounded health care graduates who can work in the home, clinics and hospitals are needed now more than ever.”
The current program has its roots in a partnership that took place last year.
In August, LHC Group and SLCC launched a home health lab, an immersive training program meant to give nursing students experience in a home setting.
At the time, this was part of a growing trend of labs and training programs for home-based care workers and nurses.
“We are proud to expand our partnership with an exemplary and innovative system like SLCC to build greater understanding about in-home health care and help prepare the next generation of clinicians and caregivers,” Keith Myers, LHC Group’s chairman and CEO, said in the press release. “There’s no substitute for hands-on training where students can learn the specialized skills needed to provide quality in-home care.”
A program focused on acclimating students in the home setting is not only beneficial to providers, but to the home health care workforce as a whole. Overall, the home health sector is responsible for over 2 million jobs, according to statistics from Avalere Health and the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation.
Under the new five-year partnership, SLCC will expand on its current home health lab, creating six additional training labs.
Additionally, the program will create a scholarship program for health care students while offering continuing education in home health and establishing both an endowed chair and endowed teaching positions.
The program will also aid in creating a new national credential for home health training.
SLCC is expecting 350 students to have access to its home health labs by the end of 2021.
“By adding this module to current curriculums in nursing and allied health programs, students build on their skillset and become more marketable to employers,” an SLCC spokesperson said in an email statement.